US foodservice giant Sysco is piloting a fleet of electric vehicles to deliver to UK customers of its British Brakes and SSG businesses

Customers of Sysco’s UK businesses Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group (SSG) will begin to receive deliveries from zero-emissions vehicles as part of a programme to understand the challenges and opportunities for decarbonising Britain’s largest foodservice fleet.

The group is piloting electric delivery vehicles at its UK businesses Brakes and SSG

The group is piloting electric delivery vehicles at its UK businesses Brakes and SSG

Source: Sysco

The UK pilot will include a range of temperature-controlled electric vehicles, including two 19-tonne Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and two electric vans, across both Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group depots, Sysco – a US foodservice group – said.

Sysco added that it hopes to provide a model for electric multi-temperature HGV deliveries as it tests the performance of the vehicles and batteries; collects data and builds understanding around the complexity of charging and route planning; and identifies the infrastructure required.

Mark Jenkins, supply chain and operations director, Sysco GB, said: “Our vehicles cover almost 60 million miles a year. Transforming our fleet to zero-emissions will be vital to achieving the company’s ambitious science-based climate targets and supporting our customers to achieve their own. We’re excited to be delivering to customers in zero-emission multi-temperature vehicles, which can save around 69 tonnes of carbon per HGV each year. When you consider the impact of expanding that to our entire fleet, the potential is huge.”

The first vehicles, including an Electra 19-tonne multi-temperature HGV, arrived in July and will move around the network to test different routes and ways of working, Sysco said. However, there are still many barriers to converting the entire fleet – primarily cost and infrastructure, Jenkins said.

“Innovation in electric vehicles and battery technology is moving incredibly fast, and vehicle range is no longer the biggest barrier. To convert our entire fleet would require significant investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure and a commitment from the industry to invest in the vehicle technology and therefore lower the cost. We are investigating all options and welcome partnerships with industry and government to join us in pioneering the future of foodservice delivery.”

The new vehicles support Sysco’s ambitious, industry-leading climate goal to reduce emissions across its global operations and the company’s entire value chain. It will see the company aim to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 27.5 per cent between 2019 and 2030, and support suppliers, representing 67 per cent of spend, to set their own science-based targets by 2026.